Printing Parks is a project designed to increase awareness of the heritage and history of Leicester’s parks whilst providing an active and fulfilling creative experience.
Five local community groups and one Leicester city centre school have taken part in the project, staged over two years, which celebrates ten Leicester city parks: Abbey Park, Aylestone Hall Gardens, Belgrave Cemetery, Braunstone Park, Castle Gardens, Humberstone Park, Shady Lane Arboretum, Spinney Hill Park, Victoria Park and Watermead Country Park.
The project began in March 2017, with three groups; Mothers Unite, a support group for women, focused on Victoria Park. Network for Change, a local social enterprise that supported adults whose mental health problems, focused on Spinney Hill Park; and a group of art students from Moat Community College looked at Castle Gardens.
In October 2017, three more groups took part. BrightSparks, a local arts in mental health group, Action Deafness, and art students from Moat Community College visited and developed prints inspired by Belgrave Cemetery, Humberstone Park and Watermead Country Park, respectively. In February 2018, the final four parks explored were Abbey Park, Aylestone Hall Gardens, Braunstone Park and Shady Lane Arboretum, by groups from Learning For The Fourth Age, who work with older people and those in need of support, Mothers Unite, and BrightSparks.
The participants’ activities began with introductory workshops at Leicester Print Workshop, exploring linocut and monoprint techniques. Each group then took a site visit to their park, accompanied by Leicester Guide, Steve Bruce who uncovered stories about the buildings and history. For some participants it was their first visit to the parks, as well as their first experience of printmaking.
Together, each group created a collaborative image inspired by their park visit, plus more personal, individual works of art telling stories from the parks. Artist Sally Stephens led the workshops and worked with participants’ designs to create the larger collaborative linocut print; supported by LPW Studio Technician Serena Smith and Teaching Assistant Katy Goodrich.
The collaborative prints, one produced by each group, as well as a selection of prints produced here at Leicester Print Workshop during the sessions and photographs documenting the project were exhibited in the LPW Project Space from 8th May until Saturday 30th June 2018.
Printing Parks is part of a wider Heritage Lottery Funded, Leicester City Council project, Story of Parks.
Printing Parks with Moat Community College was a City Classroom project.